Hell’s Kitchen Season 21 winner: Leadership at the pass earns the title
At the beginning of Hell’s Kitchen Season 21, the premise was clear. Battle of the Ages split the Red and Blue teams into chefs at the beginning of their career and chefs who have more cooking experience. In an almost perfect mirror to the beginning of the season, the finale had that premise battle it out in the final dinner service. Which chef opened the door and earned the title Hell’s Kitchen Season 21 winner?
For the two-hour Hell’s Kitchen Season 21 finale, three chefs longed for the title that could change their culinary careers. As seen with previous winners, that Hell’s Kitchen title opens more than just one door in a food television competition. It is entrance into the Gordon Ramsay culinary empire. From a position at one of Ramsay’s Caesars Entertainment restaurants or other culinary opportunities, there are few opportunities that can offer such a resume boost.
Since only two chefs could face off in the final dinner service, the three remaining chefs, Alejandro, Alex, and Dafne created their ideal five course dinners for five celebrated chefs. The courses were a cold appetizer, hot appetizer, chicken dish, seafood dish, and a meat dish.
While Alejandro, Alex, and Dafne had assistance from the Gordon Ramsay’s team of corporate chefs, the contestants drove the menu. From Dafne’s Italian inspired tastings to Alex’s Southern flare, these dishes were all their own.
Looking at the five course meal, Dafne was the biggest surprise. While she gambled big with her raviolo, she knew how to perfectly execute this dish. From the visually stunning plating to the nuanced flavors, she was the first chef to earn a spot in the final dinner service.
In the battle between Alejandro and Alex, it was fairly even. Alejandro’s dishes seemed to be a little more out of the box. Although his creativity challenges the palate, the progression for his dishes was a little muddled.
At the same time, Alex was not perfect in his dishes. For his chicken dish, he made the dreaded duo mistake which is often a chef’s downfall in a food television competition.
It came down to the meat course. With Chef Curtis Stone making the decision regarding which dish deserved more points. In the end, Alex scored a perfect 10 with his steak dish, earning the points for the difficulty level.
With the two final chefs set for the last dinner service of Hell’s Kitchen Season 21, Alex and Dafne set their menus with their teams. Similar to previous seasons, the strength of the brigade will either cause the kitchen leader to sink or swim. While there were some bumps along the way, both the red and blue kitchens recovered. All diners were served, and no noticeable errors were sent to the tables.
Although not often a discussed topic during the finale, the complexity of the dishes should be a factor in the overall decision. The same can be said with the plating techniques. Both dinners had a great progression. Feedback from the people tasting the meal is vital.
At the same time, the chef needs to fit into the Gordon Ramsay empire. It is more than just executing their own food. It is appreciating what it takes to create a menu, lead a team, and work within a restaurant business.
In the end, the chef who earned the Hell’s Kitchen Season 21 winner title was Alex. The biggest difference between him and Dafne was Alex’s leadership. He understands what it takes to lead not just at the pass but as a restaurant owner. He has done all the tasks and appreciates that a great chef is one that understands all the nuances that the title holds.
When will there be a Hell’s Kitchen Season 22? Who knows. For now, the confetti lingers over Alex’s win and there are plenty more Gordon Ramsay shows to watch on FOX and Tubi.